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when you are being your truest you,
you are living life loud

When I was in college, my friends and I used the term “loud and wrong” to describe other students who were always the first to say something – anything – in class, just to be recognized.  More often than not they were loud, proud…and wrong.  They’d emphatically raise their hands to be called on, or blurt out an answer, only to be completely off-base.

It wasn’t until recently when I found myself contemplating my existence (again, it’s not like a new thing) and wondering how best to revitalize my life, that it occurred to me.  I’m often right – and quiet.  Sure, I’m vocal and animated. I speak super-passionately about the things I care about, but only within my circles.

When I get in front of a large crowd, it takes me so long to warm up that by the time I’m comfortable being loud, the dance is usually over and the band is packing up.

I watched Susan Cain’s T.E.D. Talk a while back about introverts and extroverts and learned that I fall in the middle of the spectrum – something called an ambivert.  If you’ve been following me for a bit then you know how much I love titles and boxes and categories, for no other reason than to blur them, bind them, break them and utterly disregard.  I believe you have to know what something is before you can say you aren’t it.  Learning I was an ambivert helped me understand all I wasn’t.

How many times in my life have I depended on my introverted tendencies when I probably needed to be more outgoing?  How often had I leaned on my extroverted, outgoing nature when I likely needed to go within and reflect?  Sure, I can easily switch between the two and know what it is to entertain and to meditate, but I can name some times one would have fared better than another in a situation.

It occurred to me, those in the front of the class who were loud and wrong were experiencing the class. It may not have been the way I would, but they were engaged nonetheless.  They were present…they were attentive…they were loud.

Though I may not have always taken the path I would’ve favored, the fact that I did anything was more the point.  The fact that I learned from it and allowed it to shape me moving forward.  The fact that I engaged, was present and chose to be invested in the moment – whether boldly outspoken or quietly reflecting – even if it was wrong, it was loud…it was live.

You might be thinking, quiet is the opposite of loud. While this is true, we all know the effects something loud can have on us.  When they are unexpected they make us shirk a little, our body reverberates from the experience. Whether you are quietly reflecting on past wounds that need healing or helping others do the same; no matter if you’re boisterously entertaining making people laugh and temporarily forget their troubles – when you are being your truest you, you are living life loud.  When you live life loud, you make an impact.

Think of it like this, some of the greatest minds in the world were introverts – Dr. Seuss and Steve Jobs. BUt they were able to make an impact being introverts.  Some of the greatest social achievements were the result of very quiet people –  like Rosa Parks and MLK, Jr. – taking a stand against injustice.  Our country…our world…would not be the way it is if it were not for a group of women (many of whom were introverted housewives) coming together in Seneca Falls, New York desiring the right to vote.  If not for people like Mahatma Gandhi, a self-proclaimed introvert, creating an entire movement of passive resistance which so aptly resembled his quiet nature and calm demeanor – who knows what “social resistance” would look like today.  These people made an impact, they lived loud (even while sometimes saying nothing).

If you still don’t get it, consider this – a quote from Robert F. Kennedy: “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Be a ripple. Be a force.  Make an impact. Change a life.  Live loud.